At least 7 dead as train derails during testing in France

Officials say at least seven dead as train derails during testing in eastern France

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A high-speed train lies in a canal after derailing in Eckwersheim near Strasbourg, northeastern France, on November 14, 2015

A train undergoing a trial on a new high-speed line from Paris to Strasbourg derailed on Saturday near the German border, killing seven people, the local prefecture said.

Another 11 people were seriously injured. All of the 49 people aboard the train were employees of the SNCF national railways. The accident was caused by excessive speed, although it was too early to say why the train was going that fast, the prefecture said.

Pictures from a Reuters photographer at the scene showed the locomotive partly submerged in a canal alongside the tracks with other parts lying broken and detached in a field beside the track. Medical units including police divers were on the scene.

French Environment Minister Segolene Royal was en route to the crash scene, the prefecture said.

The second section of the Paris-Strasbourg high-speed TGV line on which the crash happened is set to open for service in April 2016.